‘We Are The Weirdos’ Presented by The Final Girls – WiHM
Women in Horror Month is a time to celebrate and deep-dive explore the work and contribution of women within the horror genre and this year I was lucky enough to attend ‘We Are the Weirdos’. Feminist horror film collective The Final Girls visited Stockport Plaza last night with a line up of intense, brutal and thought-provoking short horror films helmed by creative women. After a lovely introduction from the founders of The Final Girls, the night kicked off and showcased some amazing short films by exceptionally talented women.
CATCALLS (Dir. Kate Dolan) UK
A man cruises around late at night looking for something. He pulls in to ask two young girls for directions – only to flash them to get a cheap thrill. Unfortunately, he has picked the wrong girls. They are also out hunting tonight and they will stop at nothing to get their kill.
CATCALLS opens with a title card stating this short is ‘Based on a true story’ and after watching it the beauty of that credit is both hilarious and heart breaking. For every woman who has had an inappropriate comment yelled at her on the street this is the fantasy that has crossed their minds. The driver just wanted a thrill, just needed a little bit of titillation to keep his spank bank topped up so he could have a cheeky car wank…but he definitely picked the wrong women to mess with. This short is a great example of utilising sound design to create mystery and tension. Its creative use of shadow play lets our imaginations dole out the punishment this catcaller received. Subtle design, strong message.
The Lady from 406 (Dir. Lee Kyoung) South Korea
The woman in the upper floor is getting crazy because of the cigarette smoke coming up from the under floor. She finally visits the house below, but the man there says something unexpected.
We have all dealt with annoying neighbours before, especially if you’ve lived in flats or apartments. The Lady from 406 just wants the occupant below her to stop spreading their smoking habit through the air vents of her apartment. A simple request that garners an unsettling response. This short is a perplexing slow burn story that builds layers and layers of mystery and intrigue before reaching its climax. There are some examples of beautiful symbolism throughout from the chirping of a phone to the subtle display of props that all tie together at the end. Many ideas are packed in to a short space of time and a re-watch with a scrutinous eye is definitely warranted. Ponder, pray, repeat.
Inseyed (Dir. Jessica Hudak) USA
A girl hears mysterious noises and investigates, but the source isn’t an easy answer.
Short, surreal and stunning. It’s hard to say too much about this one as its runtime is under two minutes and I don’t wish to spoil the experience for anyone. Inseyed utilises stunning animation with a perfect score and just the right level of creepiness to make for a visually enticing watch. The beauty of the design cannot be faltered as the story takes a dark turn.
Hair Wolf (Dir. Mariama Diallo) USA
The staff of a black hair salon fend off a strange new monster: white women intent on sucking the lifeblood from black culture.
It’s the white zombie apocalypse and the hoarding masses are out for ‘braids’! This short showcases spectacular wit, creative cinematography and stunning costume design. In this modern age of cultural appropriation and viral trends, Hair Wolf is a hilarious piece of social commentary. With visual nods to both B-Movie Sci-Fi and Blaxploitation films, this short packs a satirical punch and comments on the whitewashing of black culture that has become so prevalent amongst American youth. It leaves me with only one question, “Can I touch you hair?”…totes inappropes.
Puppet Master (Dir. Hanna Bergholm) Finland
A lonely woman allows a man to transform her into a puppet.
How far would you go for love and attention? Would you change the entire fibre of your being? After a chance encounter at bar a woman is abducted and taken to a workshop filled with puppets and dolls where she is transformed into new life. There is no dialogue in this short, adding to the balletic feel of its design. A design that seems to be greatly inspired by both fairytales and German Expressionism. This unique use of puppetry is a visual delight as our protagonist is manipulated with every movement yet lifelike in every soft touch and expression of love she conveys. Superbly sinister yet deeply sad.
#EATPRETTY (Dir. Rebecca Culverhouse ) UK
Anna is a successful product photographer, striving for a life filled with perfect moments, inspired by a constant stream of social media feeds, sponsored blogs and fairytales playing on her computer.
In this Insta-ready life there is no such thing as a simple task. Even eating a meal requires the right angle and the best lighting. We search constantly for that ‘perfect moment’ that we can share to the world and our adoring followers. Everything is a moment, a display, an illusion. #EATPRETTY is a stylised look at life through a phone and the obsessive nature of double-clicks and thumbs up. A female American Psycho but with a better filter.
Cerulia (Dir. Sofia Carillo) Mexico
Cerulia returns to her childhood home to find that it is haunted by her memories.
Can it be called a nightmare if you’re still awake? The second animated short of this event was another visual treat that combined childish innocence with macabre gothic imagery to create a world between reality and fantasy. The minor details in this production are what set it apart in style, the subtle rusting of a bike or the pulled thread of a couch bring life to this animated world. Cerulia is a haunting fairytale of a young women and her imaginary friend who simply cannot be apart. The design of this film is a pure labour of love and is simply entrancing as it weaves its tale of memories long forgotten. The past simply will not die.
Goodnight (Dir. Diane Michelle) USA
BILLY is the MAN who LIVES UNDER MY BED….
A beautiful room lit with delicate fairy lights, a fairytale story of true love and a cosy quilt all tucked in tight, these are the ingredients to guarantee a perfect night’s sleep for a little girl. Not everything in her room is safe and sweet though and the man under the bed is disrupting bedtime. Goodnight is a parent’s worst nightmare. When a child is scared it is their job to inspect for monsters and danger, even when afraid themselves. Chilling and with excellent scares this ‘traditional’ horror narrative takes a dark turn that is sure to leave you feeling unsettled. There’s a man under my bed, and he won’t let me sleep.
Blood Runs Down (Dir. Zandashé Brown) USA
When a woman undergoes a frightening transition, her vigilant five year old daughter must decide between saving her or protecting herself in this haunting tale of inheritance, daughterhood, and demons.
The night closed out with a Southern Gothic horror dealing with mental health and the demons we possess from our families. On the eve of her birthday Ana and her mother, discuss the beautiful day ahead and how important it is to rest that night in preparation. All Elize wants is some peace, some rest from her duties as a single-mother and yet respite seems impossible. With themes of rebirth, hereditary traits and the tasks of motherhood there is a poignant message to this short film. The set is small, claustrophobic and full of mirrors proving there is no escape from the reflections of ourselves.
This event was an amazing way to close out Women in Horror Month and has definitely given me some names to keep an eye on for the future!